Drift: Art and Dark Matter
May 11–October 8, 2022
Curated by Sunny Kerr
Justina M. Barnicke Gallery
An invisible matter is having a gravitational effect on everything. Without the gravity of this “dark” matter, galaxies would fly apart. Observational data in astroparticle physics indicate that it exists, but so far dark matter hasn’t been detected directly.
Given the contours of such an unknown, artists Nadia Lichtig, Josèfa Ntjam, Anne Riley, and Jol Thoms reflect on the “how” and “why” of physics and art as diverse and interrelating practices of knowledge. Through their transdisciplinary exchanges with scientists, the artists have created artworks—sculpture, installation, textile and video—that emerge as multi-sensory agents in the search for an experience of dark matter.
Drift: Art and Dark Matter is a residency and exhibition project organized by Agnes Etherington Art Centre, in partnership with the Arthur B. McDonald Canadian Astroparticle Physics Research Institute and SNOLAB, the Stonecroft Foundation, George Taylor Richardson Memorial Fund, and the City of Kingston Arts Fund through the Kingston Arts Council. Four artists of national and international stature were invited to make new work while engaging with physicists, chemists, and engineers contributing to the search for dark matter at SNOLAB’s facility in Sudbury, two kilometres below the surface of the Earth.
The title “Drift” comes from the mining term for a horizontal tunnel, in this case the hot underground passageway in the copper and nickel mine stretching between the elevator and the clean lab spaces of SNOLAB. The project thereby begins from a consideration of the forms and energies that connect research to labour, landscapes, cultures, and histories.
We gratefully acknowledge operating support from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, and the Toronto Arts Council.